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Friday, August 31, 2007

Attorney Ilann Maazel has been busy

In addition to suing the NYPD and terrorism adviser Bruce Tefft in New York, he's also suing Keith B. Alexander, Michael V. Hayden, Alberto Gonzales, George W. Bush, Mark Baker, and the United States of America in San Fransisco over the NSA wiretapping.

Monday, August 27, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: An interview with Dr. Bruce Tefft

MIKE KASPER: Hi Bruce, let's give people an idea of your background. 21 years in the CIA, 17 years overseas, Chief of Station, founding member of the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center in 1985. Would you say you've been focused on Islamic terrorism for 20 years?

BRUCE TEFFT: Thank you, Mike... yes, since 1985. In the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center I was responsible for operations against the Iranian terrorists and the Iranian-supported proxies, Hizballah in Lebanon.

MIKE: If you can go into this, are we talking about collection operations, offensive operations, both?

BRUCE: Both... although offensive operations all had to have specific White House approval and this was not always forthcoming. Collection operations is CIA "bread and butter" and did not require special approvals.

MIKE: For anyone who might not be familiar with the time period, Hezbollah was founded in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and the first attacks against the US in Beirut began in 1983 and 1984, right? Bombings, kidnappings, hijackings, hundreds dead. Do any particular events stand out that had the most impact on you as you worked to counter this new threat?

BRUCE: I would take slight issue with your characterization that Hizballah was founded in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Hizballah would have been created regardless... The Ayatollah Khomeini, following the successful coup in 1979 in Iran, surveilled his next target and decided that Lebanon was sufficiently destabilized that the prospects for a second Islamic Revolutionary Government were best there and he detached units from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to Lebanon to establish camps in the Bekaa Valley to begin training Lebanese proxies - Hizballah - in terrorism.

BRUCE: The greatest impact was the kidnapping, torture and killing of the CIA Station Chief in Beirut by the Iranians/Hizballah on March 16, 1984. He was held and tortured to death by the Iranians who killed him by inserting a catheter with a balloon down his throat. When the balloon expanded it crushed all of his interior organs. The multiple bombings of the U.S. Embassy (twice), the Marine and French hqs, and numerous kidnappings and hijackings all cried for a counter-response.

MIKE: When did you first see a connection between literal reading of the Koran and terrorism, if that's an accurate way to say it?

BRUCE: During the Cold War, I studied Marxism to learn the motivations and weaknesses of the Communist enemy. It made sense, as Islam declared war on the United States, to do the same with Islam. The Koran, according to Muslims may only be read literally... it is blasphemy to attempt to interpret the literal word of Allah. It also made sense to listen to what the new enemy was saying, as we studied both the writings, speeches and propaganda of the Communists and before them, the Nazis to gain an understanding of them of whom we were fighting and why.

BRUCE: As a former Muslim, Ibn Warrach has written: "Without Islam, there is no Islamic terrorism". Obviously, without the Koran there would be no Islam, nor Islamic terrorism.

MIKE: There are over a billion Muslims in the world. Do you see them all as enemies of the United States, or only the terrorists?

BRUCE: Islam is an ideology hostile to the West, and to all non-Muslims. Islam requires all Muslims to work for the overthrow (or subjection) of all non-Muslim religions and political systems. If Muslims reject the words of Allah (as noted in the Koran and hadiths) then they are apostates and no longer Muslims. If Muslims choose to adhere to Islam which has declared war on the non-Muslim world, then yes, of course they are enemies of the U.S., the West and all non-Muslims... by their own words.

MIKE: The World Trade Center was bombed the first time in 1993. If you can say, what types of things were you involved with at the time? Were you familiar with the Blind Sheik and his Islamic Group or the connection to Zawahiri and Egyptian Islamic Jihad?

BRUCE: I was working in Somalia, amongst other places in East Africa.

BRUCE: Of course, I was quite familiar with the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad... and the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization of which both were members. Rahman was involved with bin Laden in Afghanistan and earlier was involved in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

MIKE: When did you start working for Orion and how would you describe your job? Is it safe to say Islamic terrorism was the focus?

BRUCE: I started working for Orion in 1998, approximately 2 years after leaving the CIA. My responsibility was, as was Orion's, general terrorism... from all over the world. From the Japanese Aum-Shin-ryko to the ETA and German Red Army and Italian Red Brigades. By virtue of my background though, I specifically focussed on Islamic terrorism.

MIKE: In the lead up to 9/11 there were several more attacks on US interests overseas by Al Qaeda. Do you remember when you first became aware of the new terrorist network that Bin Laden and Zawahiri had formed? What about their MAK offices in the US?

BRUCE: I was aware of bin Laden, and his co-founder of the Maktab al-Khadamt (MAK) during the Afghanistan war. bin Laden murdered Azzam and his 2 sons in Peshawar in 1989 and took control of MAK (al-Qaeda) and began turning his attention to international terrorism.

MIKE: Did you see any signs before the 9/11 attacks that they were planning to bring their war against the US to American soil?

BRUCE: Yes, of course. There was nothing to stop al-Qaeda from doing so and it was logical... having defeated (their claim) the Soviets in Afghanistan; bin Laden turned his attention to the sole remaining non-Muslim superpower, the U.S. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was an obvious indication; as well as the 1993 attack by Amal Kansi outside of CIA Hqs... one might have thought that either event would have focussed American attention to the Islamic War against the US...

BRUCE: Then in 1995, the Philippines captured Ramzi Yousef's roommate, Abdul Hakim Murad, and learned of Operation Bojinka, a plan to bomb 11 US airliners simultaneously over the Pacific, assassinate Pope John Paul II and to hijack an airliner and crash it into CIA Hqs.

BRUCE: In 1998 bin Laden issued his famous declaration of war calling on Muslims to kill all Americans everywhere. It should be noted in the context of bin Laden's terrorism that no Islamic authority has ever declared bin Laden, al-Qaeda or any of his actions un-Islamic... which would have required him being declared an "apostate" and subject to a fatwa death sentence... odd, considering how quickly death sentence fatwas were issued on Salmon Rushdie and the Danish cartoonists for the flimsiest of excuses.

BRUCE: So there were plenty of indications prior to 9/11.

MIKE: Were you personally aware of any Al Qaeda operatives present inside the US before 9/11?

BRUCE: I was aware that al-Qaeda was essentially a Muslim Brotherhood creation (as were the PLO and HAMAS); and that in 1995, al-Qaeda formed an official alliance with Iran (and thus Hizballah). I was aware of the PLO, HAMAS, and Hizballah criminal and fund-raising activities (particularly Hizballah cigarette smuggling from North Carolina and HAMAS coupon-clipping scams in Chicago). Thus I would have made a well-founded assumption that al-Qaeda was present in the US but, prior to any arrests, I was not personally aware of the identities of any individual al-Qaeda operatives in the U.S.

BRUCE: It should be noted that 80% of all of the mosques and Islamic centers in the US and all of the Muslim Student Associations are funded by Wahabbi Saudis. bin Laden is a Wahabbi Saudi. It would also be a reasonable assumption that these are al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda sympathizers too.

MIKE: In early 2002, not long after 9/11, you began commuting to New York. In basic terms, describe the work you did for Orion to assist the NYPD.

BRUCE: Orion volunteered to pay for my salary, commute, and hotel expenses as a patriotic gesture to assist the City of New York and the NYPD following 9/11.

BRUCE: I shared my intelligence and counter-terrorism expertise with members of the NYPD's Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Divisions in an effort to prevent another 9/11-type terrorist attack.

BRUCE: As an intelligence officer, my job had always been to be proactive, to identify threats and events in advance. Typically, police and law enforcement concentrates on reaction, to an incident or a crime. My job was to convey such aspects of proaction as were possible and legal domestically to the NYPD... and some of the 16,000 other law enforcement and first responders that I have trained in the US and abroad since 9/11.

MIKE: At what point did you stop making the trip to Manhattan?

BRUCE: My last commute to Manhatten was prior to Christmas, 2003. This was due to the acquisition of Orion by SRA, a company which did not share Orion's view as to the value of my work in NYC.

MIKE: Was NYPD the only Orion customer you were supporting all this time?

BRUCE: The NYPD was my primary responsibility, but I did other work as well.

MIKE: Let's talk about the email list at issue. I'm a computer guy, so I'm curious, what email software did you use for the list?

BRUCE: I'm NOT a computer guy... I used the basic Microsoft office suite for my emails... Outlook.

MIKE: This might follow from the last answer, but how would people subscribe and how could they unsubscribe?

BRUCE: As I gave speeches, presentations and training to all first responders and law enforcement officials, I would, in my closing remarks, describe my international network of contacts, chatrooms, other email lists, and my own research. I would receive some 1,000 terrorist, political or military-related emails a day (more now) and disseminate perhaps 5% of them to interested parties on my own email list... I offered to place any law enforcement or other interested party on my list...

MIKE: How was the list in question actually managed? Do you keep the list of email addresses in an address book or file on your computer? Do people email you and ask to be added to the list and then you manually add them, or delete them if they request to be deleted?

BRUCE: Yes, the "list" was kept in my address book on my computer. For anyone to be put on the list, they would have to either email me or write down their email address and hand it to me and I would manually add to the list. Most, if not all, deletions were email requests. I received no request from the Muslim suing me to be removed from the mailing list. I might also add, I don't know (although I might hazard a guess) the identity of the Muslim suing me... he has requested court protection of his identity... hence the law suit is John Doe vs City of New York and Bruce Tefft. I have not been informed the identity of John Doe.

MIKE: When was the list started and approximately how many members did it reach at it's peak?

BRUCE: I started the list in connection with my on-line research in 1996 after leaving the CIA. The list is still growing, and I'm told that through various repostings, etc. that I reach approximately 15,000 readers daily.

MIKE: Is the content of the list in question similar to that of the OSINT yahoo group you post to now?

BRUCE: Almost identical... I've actually broken the list down into several now... one exclusively for law enforcement officials; and others more general depending on participants interests.

MIKE: What legal basis is the plaintiff using to sue you individually for emails you wrote?

BRUCE: He claimed in his suit, which is against the City of New York, with me as an addendum, that I contributed to the creation of a hostile work environment for him.

MIKE: If you posted them online instead, spoke the same sentiments in a public forum, or testified about it as an expert witness, could he sue you for that, too?

BRUCE: I did post most of the articles online... and, I imagine, he would attempt to sue me for that, if his objective, as seems clear of so many Islamic-origin law suits, is to silence a critic of Islam.

MIKE: What type of damages is he seeking from you?

BRUCE: None specific... he's requesting a jury trial for a judgement and decision on damages. I have heard that he initially sought a million dollars from the City of New York, but I can not confirm this.

MIKE: Is he claiming you discriminated against him or caused him emotional distress?

BRUCE: I gather he is claiming that I caused the NYPD to discriminate against him and I think there are some claims of emotional distress too. His complaint runs to several dozen pages.

MIKE: What period of time do the emails the plaintiff quotes in his lawsuit cover?

BRUCE: He seems to be claiming from 2001 to 2005... of course I had no NYPD officers on my list (that I am aware of) in 2001... and my last connection to the NYPD was ended in December 2003 although some email contact continued.

MIKE: Were you still working for Orion all that time?

BRUCE: No, my employment with Orion ceased in early 2004 when it was acquired by SRA.

MIKE: Would there be any difference if the plaintiff went and signed up for your OSINT yahoo group today? Could he sue you again?

BRUCE: The material and the commentary is the same.

BRUCE: As we've seen in the U.S. ...anyone can sue anyone else for just about anything... including hot coffee and hurt feelings. I hope the US courts will at some point stop entertaining frivolous law suits like this one, others launched by CAIR and the John Doe airline passenger complaints.

MIKE: To change the subject for a minute, one problem the intelligence community has is a lack of linguists, and native speakers, who can get top level security clearances. How do you think that problem can be solved to help us fight Islamic terrorism?

BRUCE: The FBI flatly, I have heard, refuses to use Jewish linguists. But there are thousands of non-Muslim Arabic and Persian speakers ranging from Palestinian Christians, Egyptian Copts, Lebanese Maronites, Iraqi Christians, Armenians, etc.

BRUCE: The shortage is a result of the intelligence community's own shortsightedness and incompetence.

MIKE: People might be aware of a 2004 conference where your remarks sparked a controversy. You've been in the intelligence business around thirty years now. Have your views on Islam ever caused any problems like this for you in the past?

BRUCE: I spoke in Toronto at a Simon Wiesenthal sponsored conference which infuriated Muslims. CAIR demanded, naturally, immediate retraction, apologies and disavowment from the sponsors. They did not get it.

MIKE: Last but not least, ARC, the Association for the Recovery of Children. When I was researching for this interview I saw you were listed as one of their associates. Can you tell me some more about that organization and the type of work they do?

BRUCE: The Association for the Recovery of Children is a non-profit organization comprised of former and active Intelligence, Military, and Law Enforcement personnel, dedicated to the recovery of missing and exploited children, foreign and domestic. You are aware of the issues of Muslim males stealing or kidnapping children from their non-Muslim or Western wives, and spiriting them off to their own country, often against US divorce court settlements, etc. We try to help the spouses recover their children.

MIKE: Thanks Bruce, hope we can continue the conversation soon and help fill people in on more details of the case.

BRUCE: Thank you, Mike.

MIKE: As a reminder, if readers can afford to make a contribution, checks can be made out to the Bruce Tefft Legal Defense Fund and sent to:

Bruce Tefft Legal Defense Fund
Jerry Goldman, Atty
Two Penn Center Plaza
1500 J.F.K. Blvd. Suite 1411
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What exactly is Bruce being sued over?

One thing that I'm still not clear about is what exactly Bruce is accused of doing. Clearly, the plaintiff's attorney can quote a number of emails critical of Islam. However, most if not all of those emails were sent after the defense contractor that Bruce worked for was no longer even under a contract with the city. Instead, police officers subscribed to his email list completely on their own. It seems the Muslim officer is suing because no one stopped him from subscribing to Bruce's email? If anyone had stopped him from subscribing simply because he is a Muslim and might be offended by some of Bruce's views, wouldn't that be discrimination, instead?

From a Der Speigel article that give's the plaintiff's perspective:

The e-mail excerpts were forwarded to SPIEGEL ONLINE by Ilann Maazel, the Arab police officer's lawyer. They're part of a federal lawsuit for religious and racial discrimination filed with a United States district court and stamped "Judge Jones" and "Received Dec 05 2006." The police officer has had enough. A press statement released by Maazel says the NYPD's "culture of discrimination" has left the man "depressed and demoralized."

...Until the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, no one seemed to be bothered by the fact that "John Doe" was a practicising Muslim, an American and a member of an antiterrorism unit all at once. But then the tide started to turn -- at the very moment when Bruce Tefft appeared on the scene as a counterterrorism and intelligence advisor to the NYPD. Tefft sent the e-mails that prompted "John Doe" to file his lawsuit.

But the lawsuit has been filed against the city of New York. The reason is that "John Doe" says he complained in person to four of his superiors, reading them the e-mails, before complaining in writing. He always kept to the official complaint procedure developed for cases such as his. There was no reaction.

The city of New York takes a different view. Wednesday's edition of the New York Times cites an e-mail from Paul J. Browne, the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Public Information. "As soon as the Police Department became aware of a complaint about the content of e-mail sent by an individual not employed by the Police Department, we took immediate action to block his e-mails, followed by a cease and desist letter to the individual and his employer, a consulting firm," the e-mail states. Browne also told the New York Times, that the NYPD's contact with "Orion" (Tefft's employer) ended "sometime in 2003," but that Tefft was somehow able to continue sending e-mails to NYPD officers. Maazel believes the NYPD waited too long before taking action.


Another odd detail from the article. What is so bad about this? If he worked in the Cyber Unit isn't this exactly the kind of an article he would be interested in?

The "Cyber Unit" monitors jihadist Web sites and writes risk analyses based on the online exchanges between terrorism supporters. One day, the officer found an email printout on his desk with the subject line: "Al-Qaida Recruits Through the Internet."

But the e-mails the police officer received were worse.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What's Philip Zelikow been up to lately?

UPDATE: ABC News released the following statement.

"When ABC News interviewed Philip Zelikow on August 21, he did not disclose that he was working for Barbour Griffith & Rogers; this information did not become public until several days later. We are deeply disappointed that Mr. Zelikow did not disclose his lobbying relationship to us. As a former advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and now a professor at the University of Virginia, we believe that his statement to us accurately reflects ongoing, internal discussions at the State Department. Nevertheless, his statement is sullied by the fact that he did not disclose his relationship with Barbour Griffith & Rogers."


But he looks like such an honest, respectable guy?


CNN fills in the details:

A senior Bush administration official told CNN the White House is aware of the lobbying campaign by Barbour Griffith & Rogers because the firm is "blasting e-mails all over town" criticizing al-Maliki and promoting the firm's client, former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, as an alternative to the current Iraqi leader.

But the administration official insisted that White House officials are not privately involved or blessing the lobbying campaign to undermine al-Maliki. (TIME.com: Few good alternatives to al-Maliki)

"There's just no connection whatsoever," the official said. "There's absolutely no involvement."

The lobbying firm boasts the services of two onetime foreign policy hands of President Bush: Ambassador Robert Blackwill, the former Deputy National Security Adviser, and Philip Zelikow, former counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Here is who Bruce is up against

Please consider making a donation at the link above.

From ecbalaw.com:

Ilann Margalit Maazel

Partner

Ilann Margalit Maazel has a diverse trial and appellate practice, with extensive experience in both state and federal court. Mr. Maazel's civil rights docket focuses upon police misconduct, free speech, election, education, employment discrimination, international, and class action litigation. He also represents a number of institutions and individuals in complex commercial and intellectual property disputes. Mr. Maazel joined the firm after clerking for the Hon. John M. Walker on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

At ECBA Mr. Maazel has represented Martha Stewart, Friends of the High Line, the New York City Council, New York gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, the City of Mount Vernon, and a diverse array of commercial and civil rights clients. He has also served as class counsel or co-counsel to a putative class of millions of Americans subjected to illegal surveillance by the federal government, to a class of hundreds of disabled preschool children in a suit against the New York City and State Departments of Education, and to a class of thousands of inmates in New York City prisons in a suit against the New York City Department of Corrections. Mr. Maazel is a recipient of the Legal Aid Society's 2004 and 2005 Pro Bono Publico Awards, a 2001-02 recipient of a Coro Fellowship, Leadership New York, and received an Echoing Green Public Service Fellowship, awarded to “outstanding individuals who are committed to public service work.”

Mr. Maazel previously worked at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and at the Federal Defenders in the Eastern District of New York. He regularly writes and lectures on civil rights, First Amendment, education, and election law issues, and is a frequent commentator on civil rights issues in the national media. Mr. Maazel also writes a regular Civil Rights Litigation column for the New York Law Journal.


Cached from NYCPR.org:

"Sean Bell is the tip of the iceberg," said Ilann Maazel, a partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More background on the Tefft case

I'm in contact with Dr. Tefft and hope to have more details to report soon, but in the meantime here are three more articles with background on the case: Neal Boortz, Der Speigel, Reuters.

UPDATE: Here is an unrelated article about the judge the Der Speigel article claims will be hearing the case:

No Dates for Plame

U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones said Wednesday the CIA had convinced her in statements by its deputy director, Stephen Kappes, that national security could be harmed if the agency acknowledged whether the information at issue in the case was true, the Associated Press reports.

According to published reports, including in the Congressional Record, Plame worked at the agency from 1985 to 2006, AP reported. The government has publicly acknowledged that she worked for the CIA from 2002 to January 2006.

Plame's publisher, Simon & Schuster, said in a statement that it was displeased with the decision, is considering its legal options and is still planning to publish the memoir, titled "Fair Game."

War on Weldon

The full series by Jack Cashill is available online:

Editors note: This the last in a four-part series detailing how and why a collaboration of Democratic activists conspired to unseat Pennsylvania Rep. Curt Weldon in the November 2006 elections. Read part 1, part 2 and part 3.

In December 2006, FBI Director Robert Mueller appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee with serious egg on his face.

According to the Associated Press, he confessed to being "exceptionally disappointed" about the leak made public on Oct. 13, 2006, that Pennsylvania Rep. Curt Weldon was under investigation for influence peddling.

That leak, and the subsequent raid prompted by the leak, cost Weldon his House seat.

...The Los Angeles Times article that prompted this whole fiasco cited 28 congressmen and women whose children worked as lobbyists or consultants.

Among that group, none stood out like Sen. Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, who was, according to the Times, "in a class by himself."

The Times identified three sons and a son-in-law who profited from their relationship to Reid. "In the last four years alone," claimed the Times, "their firms have collected more than $2 million in lobbying fees from special interests that were represented by the kids and helped by the senator in Washington."

Reid is now Senate majority leader, lauded by the same media that drove Weldon out of office.

Interesting detail from the CIA IG report

From Newsweek:

The report found that U.S. counter-terrorism efforts against Al Qaeda were damaged by a fierce turf battle between the CIA and the National Security Agency (then under Hayden’s leadership) over access to transcripts of intercepted communications picked up by the government’s spy satellites and listening posts. Throughout the late 1990s right up to 9/11, the two U.S. intelligence agencies appear to have sharply feuded over the issue. The NSA eavesdropped on the conversations of top Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe. It then prepared verbatim written transcripts of this raw “signals intelligence” (known as SIGINT in the intel world).

But Hayden’s NSA apparently wouldn’t share the transcripts with the CIA, which was responsible for tracking Al Qaeda operatives overseas. The NSA’s “unwillingness to share raw SIGINT transcripts with CIA…made it more difficult for CTC [the Counter-Terrorism Center] to perform its mission against Al Qaeda,” the report stated. (The NSA also snubbed the FBI, whose job it was to hunt down terrorist operatives within the United States.)

Some in the intelligence community take issue with the report's characterization of the disagreement. “It was a question of law, not turf,” one U.S. intel official said Tuesday when asked why Hayden’s NSA had refused to share such vital information with another U.S. intelligence agency. “The most efficient way to ensure compliance with the law when it comes to raw transcripts was to have the SIGINT reviewed inside NSA spaces.”

The practical impact of the feud was first glimpsed three years ago when Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee complaining that the NSA would only provide his office written “summaries” of the Al Qaeda conversations, which were “much less” useful for operations than the actual transcripts. The NSA repeatedly rebuffed CIA requests to see the transcripts, Scheuer wrote. One senior NSA officer, he claimed, told the agency that the National Security Act of 1947 gave the NSA “control” over the raw signals intelligence and she therefore would not share it with any other branch of the government. “They were stonewalling us,” Scheuer said in an interview Tuesday. “We came back and told Tenet that people were going to die without these things.” A one point, Scheuer told NEWSWEEK, the agency's bin Laden station lost out on a chance to capture a senior Al Qaeda leader visiting Holland because the NSA provided its summaries of SIGINT too late.


From Tony Shaffer's Congressional testimony:

REYES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In the context of your comments about sharing information, what were the Department of Defense procedures for sharing the Able Danger information with other agencies? Were there -- and I'm interested in finding out were there clear-cut guidelines, procedures and processes on how that was to be done and what criteria?

SHAFFER: Right. The answer, I'll give you in two parts.

First, there were standing agreements between intelligence organizations regarding information sharing. For example, one of the roles my unit provided to Able Danger was to provide the DIA whole top secret database and the NSA whole top secret database. Regarding the fact we got that and we gave it to SOCOM -- and keep in mind, SOCOM was a Title X organization. The intelligence committee is Title 50. So that took some doing.

So we legally found ways to bring information out of the intelligence community, provide it to SOCOM for the purposes of Able Danger.

REYES: When you say database...

SHAFFER: Right.

REYES: ... is this the lookout classified system?

SHAFFER: We did a combination of things. We actually obtained raw data from both NSA and DIA which were essentially copies of the IDB, which is the DIA's big database -- and then also NSA's databases regarding their SIGINT searches.

I have to go more into this in closed session. But suffice to say, we played this concierge role, essentially as a kind of a middle man, to get these databases. So we did have agreements.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Terror adviser sued for 'anti-Islamic' messages

Bruce Tefft, who posts to the OSINT yahoo group, has accumulated upwards of $64,000 in legal fees in a lawsuit over messages that he sent to a different email list. I guess free speech really isn't free after all. Please consider visiting the link above and making a donation. If you can add a banner to your own web site or blog that would help, too:

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NYPD terror adviser sued for 'anti-Islamic' messages

A Muslim analyst for the New York City Police Department is suing the city for workplace harassment, alleging he was subject to a regular stream of "anti-Islamic" messages from an e-mail list run by a former adviser who trained detectives in counter-terrorism.

The contracted adviser, retired 21-year CIA veteran Bruce Tefft, is also a defendant in the suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan last December.

But Tefft – a founder of the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Unit – told WND he believes the analyst, who is not named in court papers, has no case against him. Tefft, noting the suit so far has cost him $50,000 in legal fees, cites First Amendment protections and argues NYPD personnel signed up for his e-mail list at their own will and were completely free to unsubscribe at any time.

He also points out his employer at the time, the private intelligence firm Orion Scientific Systems, covered his entire salary and expenses, effectively donating his services to the NYPD.

A hearing is scheduled for next month on a motion to dismiss the case.

Tefft continues to send out about 50 to 60 e-mails a day comprised mostly of unclassified material and news reports from around the world related to terrorism and Islam. In a fraction of those dispatches he adds his own comments, some of which became a focus of the complaint.

"This is a global war we are in," Tefft said, explaining the relevance of the e-mailed reports to domestic officials. "The enemy is a global enemy. Jihadists are all over the world. So whatever goes on around the world has value here."

The suit by the Egyptian-born analyst – who filed as "John Doe Anti-Terrorism Officer" because he works undercover in the Cyber Unit – says the e-mails "ridiculed and disparaged the Muslim religion and Arab people, and stated that Muslim- and Arab-Americans were untrustworthy and could not reliably serve in law enforcement positions or handle sensitive data."


The Columbia World of Quotations:

QUOTATION: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

ATTRIBUTION: Voltaire [François Marie Arouet] (1694–1778), French philosopher, author. "what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”

Part one in Cashill series

The war on Weldon gets scarier, part I

When the history of the Bush era is written, no scandal will impress the reader as more telling of the time and place than the one that has engulfed Curt Weldon, the deposed Republican congressman from Pennsylvania....

The House Ethics Committee, in fact, cleared Weldon of any wrongdoing.

That was not clearance enough for the mischief-makers from CREW. Its executive director, Melanie Sloan, petitioned the Justice Department to investigate Weldon and determine whether the congressman had violated a federal bribery law. This petition, once executed and amplified, would spell the end of Weldon's career.

Sloan had been recruited just the year before by a pair of wealthy Democratic activists, Norman Eisen and Louis Mayberg. Sloan, then an assistant United States attorney in Washington D.C., saw the potential in their brainchild, signed on and nurtured CREW to life.

In principle, CREW was to function as something of a counterweight to Judicial Watch, the D.C.-based conservative watchdog group. CREW describes itself, in fact, as nonpartisan. Its presumed target – "government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests."

In reality, however, CREW has emerged as something of a dirty tricks operation for a truly worrisome cabal known as the Democratic Alliance.


Follow the link for the full article.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Clinton takedown of congressman exposed"

From WorldNetDaily:

COMING MONDAY
Clinton takedown of congressman exposed
Columnist Jack Cashill offers 4-part series on targeting of Rep. Curt Weldon

Posted: August 18, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Jack Cashill

Beginning Monday, WorldNetDaily will feature a four-part series by columnist Jack Cashill presenting new information about the Clinton-directed targeting and defeat of former Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., the one member of Congress who likely did more to expose Clinton administration culpability in 9-11 than any other.

Weldon, writes Cashill, was the victim "not of ideologues but of well-placed Democratic activists whose motives involve some combination of fear, greed, spite, wishful thinking and lust for power.

"These collaborators did not have to rely on Arkansas state troopers to leak private information. They had – and have – allies working within the FBI, the CIA and the Justice Department."

Cashill points out that the Clintons and their allies have willing media to help in their efforts:

"These same media that functioned – and still do – as a firewall in the service of the Clintons serve now as sappers in the undermining of their enemies.

"With a willing media to trumpet useful messages, this collaboration has effectively ended any number of Republican careers, most recently those of White House staffer Scooter Libby and Reps. Curt Weldon, Tom DeLay and Mark Foley."

In the four-part series, Cashill will detail how Weldon was targeted and taken down in 2006, noting that the congressman "committed only one unforgivable crime: investigating the intelligence failures of the Clinton era."

Visit WorldNetDaily Monday to read Part 1 of Cashill's expose.

Friday, August 17, 2007

"One Analyst Who Got It - And Got It"

Interesting post by Stephen Charest at DailyKos from July 19th:

We think of intelligence analysts - in fact of any government flunkies - as faceless drones. But I knew Eileen Preisser when she was an officer in the US Air Force, working in the USAF Special Activities Agency, the Air Force's clandestine intell agency. Yes, Eileen could be a flake (think of the scientist in the film Independence Day). But then almost everyone I know who was or is in intell is a flake . It's a job requirement. No, she doesn't play well with others. But there's a reason: when she knows she's right, she will not back down. During her military career she brought an IG complaint against a colonel who demonstrated consistent sexual harassment against his female officers. Ultimately the colonel was relieved of command and encouraged to retire. Eileen, of course, was moved to another agency where, they thought, she wouldn't cause any trouble. Wrong. She was one of the first to state unequivocally that the Berlin Wall was coming down and that we were concentrating on the wrong enemy. Since at least 1989 she's been warning anyone who would listen (or couldn't get away from her) that the real danger to the US was and is from radical terrorist groups of all stripes. Of course, being a "flake," she is rarely listened to. And, being pretty damned smart, she is usually right.

Last I heard she'd been shuffled off to something called the "National Geospatial Intelligence Agency." I'll google them later. But I'll bet long odds it's another attempt to put her where she won't disturb anyone.

It won't work. Eileen is the kind of intell analyst we need right now: one who is capable of thinking not just outside the box but outside the four known dimensions; one who is unafraid to tell her story, and one who is not intimidated by the powers that be.

Wherever you are, Eileen, I remember you. And you were and are right.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

From the archives

Look what the Google dragged in. I may have to go watch that grainy Heritage speech again now:

Congressional Record: May 21, 2002 (House)
Page H2820-H2834

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I firmly believe that if we would have implemented the NOAH, which John Hamre offered to pay for with DOD dollars, back when we first recommended it, I am convinced we could have stopped or known about and prevented September 11 from ever happening.

Let me give an example. CIA information on terrorism, combined with what the FBI knew about training pilots and open-source information on remarks by al Qaeda, would have helped the intelligence community and enforcement agencies focus better on the threat. For example, in August of 2000, an al Qaeda member had been interviewed by an Italian newspaper and reported that al Qaeda was training kamikaze pilots. The intelligence community and enforcement agencies, however, do not read open-source information. Yes, they read all the classified stuff, but this interview in 2000 was in an open-source newspaper account in Italy.

If we would have had a fusion center, all of that data would have been processed, and in very real quick time, through massive high-speed computers, and we would have seen the linkages between what was occurring. But with each agency doing its own thing, it is impossible to see the linkages. And that is why when President Bush before September 11 got a bit of information from the CIA and a bit from the FBI, and something else, and nothing from open sources, there is no way he could have foretold what was about to occur.

If we would have had the NOAH in place, an idea that was developed with the intelligence community, an idea that was briefed to the FBI, briefed to the CIA and briefed to the Defense Department, I think we could have done something to prevent al Qaeda.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, there is another interesting development that occurred. After the Army showed the capability of the LIWAC model at Ft. Belvoir, other services began to take interest. Special forces command down in Florida contacted the Army and said, hey, we hear you are doing some neat things. We want to build a mini version of what you are doing down at our headquarters.

I did not find out about this until October of 2001, after the attack on the trade center. A year before, special forces command developed their own mini version of a data processing or collaborative center with very limited capabilities. But what they did, Mr. Speaker, they did a profile of al Qaeda 1 year before 9-11.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Issa). The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) is recognized to continue until midnight.

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, here is the chart, the unclassified chart of what special forces command had 1 year before 9-11. Interesting. The entire al Qaeda network is identified in a graphic chart with all the linkages to all the terrorist groups around the world.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I was told by the folks who developed the capability for special forces command that this chart and the briefing that was supposed to be given to General Shelton, Chairman of our Joint Chiefs, had a recommendation to take out 5 cells of bin Laden's network. Mr. Speaker, this was 1 year before 9-11. This was not during President Bush's administration. This occurred in the fall of the
remaining term of President Bill Clinton.

The key question I have been trying to get at is why was this 3-hour briefing, which I also got, I got General Holland to bring his briefers up from Florida with special forces, I went in the Pentagon, went in the tank, and they gave me the briefing, as much as they could give me, because part of it is being used for our operational plan, why was that 3-hour briefing with the recommendations to take out 5 cells of bin Laden's network condensed down to a 1-hour brief when it was given to General Hugh Shelton in January of 2001? And why were the recommendations to take out 5 cells not followed up on? That is the question we should get answered, Mr. Speaker.

Because 1 year before 9-11, the capability that special forces built actually identified to us the network of al Qaeda. And they went beyond that and gave us recommendations where we could take out cells to eliminate their capability. So for those pundits out there sitting in their armchairs criticizing President Bush, they have it all wrong.

Facts are a tough thing to refute, and the fact is that back in 1997, we told the administration at that time what to do. In 1998, we briefed the agencies. In 1999, we put language in a defense bill. In 2000, we put language in a defense bill. In 2000, special forces command built another mini version of that capability. And in 2000 they briefed General Shelton telling him to take out 5 cells of bin Laden's network. All of that activity could have prevented or helped to prevent 9-11 from ever occurring. I challenge my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, to review the facts. I challenge the media to report the truth.

We still do not have a national collaborative center. That capability still does not exist. We are getting there, but it has been a long road. I briefed our Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, with the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Burton), chairman of the Committee on Government Reform, about 4 months ago. He agreed with us, but he has not yet been able to achieve this new interagency collaborative center, and that is an indictment of our government that the American people deserve to be outraged over.

We need this kind of capability in the 21st century, because these bits of pieces of information have to be pieced together, both classified and unclassified, so that our analysts can get the clear picture of what may be about to occur against our people and our friends.


From Cambone's testimony:

WELDON: I thank the gentlelady for yielding.

Dr. Cambone, do you agree in your assessment -- or your team here -- that the Able Danger team identified five hotspots, what they called hotspots, which would include Malaysia, Mauritania, Hamburg, Germany, New York and Aden, Yemen?

CAMBONE: Yes, there's said to be that sort of designation of places, to include the Brooklyn cell issue.

WELDON: Now, I realize you can't speak on behalf of the 9/11 Commission, obviously, and I'm not asking you to. But let me ask you this.

After having identified those five hotspots, and then having an attack on the USS Cole in the Port of Aden, Yemen, how could anyone in their right mind classify Able Danger as historically insignificant?

Seventeen sailors were killed in one of the five hotspots that the Able Danger team, you've just acknowledged identified?

How in the world could any commissioner on any -- well, I'm asking you -- could you think of how anyone could classify that work, after we had a warship, 17 sailors killed at one of those hotspots, and to call that work historically insignificant?

CAMBONE: Sir, I didn't do the work for the 9/11 Commission, and I was not involved in that kind of effort.

WELDON: How about your own opinion?

CAMBONE: I don't know how they would answer.

WELDON: I think that there's a lot of information that was generated over that period of time. And I don't know that the crew in the Able Danger exercise was the only one to have identified troubles in Yemen and Aden at the time.

And that, as a consequence of the investigations that were done, what we discovered is, information that might have been available through a variety of channels, hadn't been made available. That's a matter of record, sir.

And so, you know, there you are. I didn't do the look at Brooklyn cell and the other cells. I mean, that was the 9/11 Commission's function.

WELDON: But you know that they identified five cells. And one of those five cells was, in fact, a location of where 17 of our sailors were murdered.

The Department of Defense has conducted a search specifically for Able Danger products. Has any search of DOD databases been conducted, to determine if any Able Danger data was incorporated into other second and third order intelligence products? And if not, why not?

CAMBONE: Intelligence products as such, I don't know that. I do know that -- I know -- what I've been told is, and I've mentioned this already, as the planning process moved forward in the 2001 timeframe, in the Joint Staff, information generated in the Able Danger project was taken into other planning efforts and documents. Substantially.

But in terms of an intelligence product, I don't know the answer to that.

Of course Clinton knew about it

In case there was still any doubt. The 9/11 Commission identified five people who they interviewed about Able Danger:

General Schoomaker
General Hugh Shelton
Admiral Scott Fry
General Gregory Newbold
Brian Sheridan

LTC Shaffer has already mentioned briefing Brian Sheridan, ASD/SOLIC, on Able Danger. Sheridan was supportive. He was also a Clinton appointee and key member of Clarke's Counterterrorism Strategy Group.

Perhaps Vice Admiral Fry is someone we should have been talking about? Here is an excerpt from "The Age of Sacred Terror", p. 321:

Convinced that the intelligence needed for a cruise-missle attack on al-Qaeda was not going to materialize, the Joint Chiefs decided to see what they could do about the submarine deployments, which struck them as an excercise in futility. Admiral Scott Fry, head of operations for the Joint Staff, was dispatched to the White House to meet with Dick Clarke and tell him that without better intelligence, the vessels should be brought home. Clarke suprised his visitor by agreeing and challenged him to find ways of improving the intelligence. Frye returned to the Pentagon and ordered his staff to draw up a list of possibilities. Like most military options lists, what emerged in early summer of 2000 included ideas that ranged from the unfeasible to the absurd. One of them, however, appealed to Clarke: use a forty-nine-foot unmanned flying drone called Predator, armed with precision video and infrared cameras, to locate bin Laden.


Here is a quote from Clinton, on p. 317, also set in the same time frame:

Back in Washington, the sense that the Unites States was dodging al-Qaeda bullets rekindled the desire for a military plan to end the bin Laden problem. At the end of one meeting in the Cabinet Room, Clinton approached Joint Chiefs chairman Hugh Shelton and said, "You know, it would scare the shit out of al-Qaeda if suddenly a bunch of black ninjas rappelled out of helicopters into the middle of their camp. It would get us enormous deterrence and show those guys we're not afraid." Shelton, a huge, powerfully built man, blanched. The NSC followed up with a request for a military plan, a small package that did not require using the entire 101st Airborne Division.


Now, in his own words, from p. 804 of "My Life" referencing fall 1998:

I had also asked General Shelton and Dick Clarke to develop some options for dropping commando forces into Afghanistan. I thought that if we took out a couple of al Qaeda's training operations it would show them how serious we were, even if we didn't get bin Laden or his top lieutenants. It was clear to me that the senior military didn't want to do this, perhaps because of Somalia, perhaps because they
would have had to send in the Special Forces without knowing for certain where bin Laden was, or whether we could get our troops back out safely. At any rate, I continued to keep the option alive.


Is it just me or do all roads lead back to Able Danger?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Inside 9/11

I still haven't figured out if the "Updated" and "Commemorative" DVDs are the same, or if they just never plan to release the "Updated" version for sale.

Special Encore Presentation

“Inside 9/11” (Updated Version) Sunday, August 26, 7:00 – 11:00 PM ET (4 Hours with Limited Commercial Interruption)

We will never forget September 11, 2001 — a day of unimaginable tragedy, forever altering history and our place in the world. Now, the National Geographic Channel presents an updated version of its Emmy-nominated Inside 9/11. New details that have come to light have been incorporated into the special, including the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui; information about the existence of Able Danger, the highly classified military intelligence team charged with tracking al Qaeda; video of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and audio from Flight 93; the dissolving of the CIA’s bin Laden unit; the killing of al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; and recent tapes from bin Laden.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

CIA report on 9/11 due Labor Day

From the Hill:

August 08, 2007

The CIA has been ordered to release by Labor Day a declassified summary of an internal report on the agency’s performance prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, possibly shedding light on whether senior officials made fundamental lapses in judgment.

Under the 9/11 bill that President Bush signed into law Friday, the agency must release a public summary within 30 days of the law’s enactment, along with a classified annex for Congress that explains the report’s redactions.

CIA spokesman George Little told The Hill in an e-mail Monday that the agency “will, of course, comply with the law.”

Until now, the CIA had refused to disclose any part of the report since its former inspector general (IG), John Helgerson, completed the final draft more than two years ago. The 9/11 bill, which addresses most of the 9/11 Commission’s unfulfilled recommendations, is the first successful legislation to mandate a declassified summary.

According to previous media accounts, the IG report is more hard-hitting about the CIA’s internal failings than the 9/11 Commission’s 2004 account, and points fingers at specific senior individuals at the agency. Those reportedly include former CIA Director George Tenet, former Deputy Director of Operations James Pavitt, and former CIA Counterterrorism Center Chief Cofer Black. All have left the agency.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Intelligence panel, told The Hill shortly before the bill’s signing that “No one has come even close to giving a good national security argument as to why the public should be denied access to this information.”

Wyden long had pushed for this and other transparency provisions, including declassification of the intelligence budget total and a more defined role for the independent Pubic Interest Declassification Board, both of which also were codified by the 9/11 legislation. He and other Intelligence panel members have seen the classified CIA report, but are barred by committee rules from discussing its content.

“All I can say is that it’s an extraordinarily important, independent assessment, written with a specific purpose to learn how we can improve our security,” he said.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who has backed Wyden and Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) on this issue, said he hoped that the bill’s passage sends “a sufficient signal” to the CIA.

“Everyone else has taken their lumps, and this should have been declassified a long time ago,” Bond said.

Congress ordered the report in late 2002, and Helgerson completed the bulk of the work in 2003 and 2004, when Tenet was still CIA director. Following Tenet’s resignation in July 2004, his successor, Porter Goss, reportedly stalled an internal distribution of the report’s draft and asked Helgerson to make changes before it was sent to Congress.

In August 2005, the congressional intelligence committees received the report as well as responses from the officials cited in the text. Two months later, however, Goss declined to follow the report’s recommendation that the CIA convene “accountability boards” or reprimand specific individuals, according to media reports.

Tenet, Pavitt and Black did not return calls from The Hill asking for comment. But when Tenet appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last May, he charged that there are “many pieces of this report that many of us felt were terribly flawed.”

Questions remain as to how much the CIA will declassify. The agency held lengthy negotiations with Congress over the 2003 release of the congressional 9/11 inquiry report and the 2004 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on prewar intelligence, both of which contained substantial redactions.

When the Senate Intelligence panel released in September 2006 two further chapters of its prewar intelligence inquiry, Wyden argued that too much had been redacted. “Parts of these reports read like a dictionary with the definitions cut out,” he said at the time in a press release.

Wyden asked the Public Interest Declassification Board, which reviews classification procedures and disputes, to take up the matter. The board said it would defer until it received clarification on whether it could launch a review ordered solely by Congress. The 9/11 bill stipulated that the panel did indeed have that authority.

“When you don’t have either, pound the table"

Here's an update on the testimony in Brooklyn Supreme Court from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, still the only online news source covering these preliminary hearings:

Most of Bederow’s questions for Lance surrounded a meeting he’d had with the Brooklyn DA’s office in the fall of 2005, during which he presented Downey a copy of his book, “Cover Up.”

“Did your knowledge of Mr. DeVecchio’s immunized statements motivate you to come forward?” Bederow asked Lance.

“No. My purpose for the meeting was as a reporter,” Lance replied. “I had heard rumors from sources that there was an investigation. My primary purpose in writing ‘Cover Up’ was the role of two federal agencies, and what they may or may not have done to prevent the 9/11 attack.”

Lance’s description of his meeting with Downey would be familiar to most reporters — both sides feeling each other out without giving away too much information in the hope of making future use of the contact for any respective tasks that might lie ahead.

Following a series of off-topic queries, Justice Gustin Reichbach finally interrupted Bederow and urged the inquiry onward.

“There’s no jury here, Mr. Bederow,” Reichbach said. “Please keep it focused on the issue before us.” During the hearing, DeVecchio sat quietly at the defense table, at times turning to meet the gaze of two men seated in the gallery, retired FBI agents who’d been accused by prosecutors of witness intimidation for the badge-flashing tactics they allegedly employed while acting as investigators for the defense.

The silver-haired pair were present on Thursday as Bederow vainly fired away at a host of witnesses. Acting as the eyes and ears of their friend and former colleague, the two former agents have appeared at every hearing. DeVecchio — with the exception of last week — has remained at his Florida home, the beneficiary of a generous bail package that allows him to remain free.

During Downey’s earlier testimony, he’d stressed that he never made use of the book ‘Cover Up,’ with the exception of identifying a few individuals he wished to contact.

For Lance, he’d been trying to find out how far the Brooklyn DA was willing to go to uncover the alleged corrupt relationship between DeVecchio and Scarpa.

“The stakes were much higher than four local, Brooklyn-mob murders,” Lance said. “This has implications for national security. That’s what I’ve been trying to get out.”

Indeed, Lance’s efforts included his testimony before a closed session of the 9/11 commission, whose report widely criticized both the intelligence and law enforcement communities.

“In their effort to quash a potentially embarrassing scandal that could’ve undone several, maybe dozens, of organized crime prosecutions,” Lance believes New York-based FBI agents missed a far greater crime.

“The cover-up of the corrupt Scarpa Sr.- DeVecchio relationship led to the New York office of the FBI to bury key leads regarding al-Qaeda activity in New York City that, if pursued, may well have aborted the September 11 attacks,” Lance wrote in a letter to the editor of the New York Sun.

Lance’s November 2004 letter was written in response to a column by organized crime reporter Jerry Capeci, who’d erroneously criticized Lance for naming an NYPD informant who worked for the Organized Crime Investigative Division, a joint NYPD-FBI task force.

Capeci, who was also called to testify by Bederow, got a reprieve from taking the stand when Judge Reichbach denied the defense’s subpoena request.

In his comments regarding Bederow’s style of direct examination, Lance made reference to his days as a student at Fordham Law School.

“It was Dean Joseph McLoughlin who said, ‘When you don’t have it on the law, pound the facts. When you don’t have it on the facts, pound the law. When you don’t have either, pound the table,’ ” Lance recalled after Thursday’s hearing. “That’s what we saw today, an exercise in table-pounding.”

Though narrower issues of their client’s guilt or innocence are expected to retake center stage once the defense calls investigators for the DA’s office this week, Bederow’s hopes to eviscerate the case against DeVecchio remain, for now, unfulfilled.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Peter Lance called to testify

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Author/Journalist To Take Stand

DeVecchio’s defense attorney, Mark Bederow, also subpoenaed award-winning journalist and author Peter Lance — whose book “Cover Up” provided the “springboard” for the investigation into the former G-man’s relationship with his mob-linked informant, according to public statements Downey made at a press conference in the spring of 2006.

In arguments before state Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach prior to Downey taking the stand, Bederow alleged that Lance’s book, “Cover Up: What the Government is Still Hiding about the War on Terror,” was also based on so-called “immunized testimony.”

Bederow charged that Lance made use of “immunized” testimony DeVecchio gave at a court appearance, as well as an “immunized” statement the now-retired agent made during an internal FBI probe.

In the mid-1990s, the feds got wind of allegations that DeVecchio’s relationship with Colombo crime family capo Gregory “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa Sr. — an FBI informant for 15 years — was tainted. As a result of those internal rumblings, an investigation was undertaken which ultimately cleared DeVecchio of any wrongdoing — a whitewash, according to Lance’s book, a conclusion he explains within the pages of his tome.

As the morning court session drew to a close, Reichbach ruled that Lance would have to take the stand and answer limited questions. On his way out of court in the company of his attorney, Slade Metcalfe, Lance declined to comment until after his session on the stand today.

Lance had been reluctant to comment on the subpoena, except for a letter he wrote to Reichbach asking to be excused from taking the stand to protect his sources, many of whom are high-ranking intelligence officials and law enforcement personnel. His attorneys have also waged a vigorous battle to keep their client off the stand, citing New York state’s shield law, which protects journalists from divulging their sources.

But the subject matter of interest to Bederow and Douglas Grover, (DeVecchio’s other defense attorney), had more to do with Lance’s conversations with prosecutors at the genesis of the investigation.

Did DA Use Book Based on Immunized Information?

Bederow and Grover believe that Lance based sections of his book on immunized testimony given by DeVecchio, and that he provided this information to prosecutors at a meeting at the District Attorney’s Jay Street headquarters in December 2005.

According to yesterday’s testimony by former prosecutor Downey, who led the DeVecchio investigation, he met with Lance at the urging of his supervisor.

“Michael Vecchione [head of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Racket’s Division] informed me that there was an investigative reporter, Peter Lance, who said that he had information about the DeVecchio case and asked me to meet with him,” Downey told the court on Wednesday.

“He told us about the two books he had written, the main themes of his books,” Downey said, adding that there was no discussion of any immunized testimony by Lance or Downey at the meeting. “It [the meeting] didn’t have any bearing” on the investigation, Downey said.

After admitting to an interest in the portion of “Cover Up” in which Lance traces the beginnings of the FBI’s relationship with Scarpa, the Colombo capo who allegedly used information provided by DeVecchio to rub out several enemies, Downey recalled another section of interest.

“There was a portion of ‘Cover Up’ with photographs, in a middle section of the book, which identified individuals we would be interested in speaking with,” Downey said. “I told him [Lance] that I would be interested in contacting some of the persons.”

Recalling the remark he made about the book at a press conference announcing DeVecchio’s indictment, Downey said, “I think I said something like, ‘First thing you have to do in a murder investigation is to learn who’s who, and Peter Lance’s book was a springboard that helped us do that.’” Bederow and Grover failed to elicit testimony from Downey during their cross-examination that the indictment against their client came from immunized testimony. Barring any such finding it is likely the charges against DeVecchio will stand.

Lance is expected to take the stand today, after which Reichbach will confer with attorneys from both sides — including Brooklyn Assistant District Attorneys Joe Alexis, Monique Ferrell and Kevin Richardson — about the possibility of other witnesses.

The indictment against the one-time FBI agent alleges he provided information to Scarpa Sr., who then allegedly used it to murder rivals in the bloody war for control of the family in the late 1980s and mid-1990s.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Peter Lance fights DeVecchio subpoenas

From PeterLance.com:

Lawyers for Peter Lance have filed a Motion to Quash a pair of subpoenas compelling him to testify at a hearing in the murder case of ex-FBI Sup. Special Agent Lin DeVecchio. Threatening fine or imprisonment, lawyers for the alleged rogue agent sought Lance’s investigative work product relating to COVER UP, the book that first told the story of DeVecchio’s alleged “unholy alliance” with mob killer Greg Scarpa Sr. CLICK for copies of: DeVecchio Subpoena; The D.A.’s Subpoena; Lance’s Affidavit in his Motion under the N.Y. Shield Law; The Memorandum of Law prepared by attorneys at Hogan and Hartson, LLP; and their Reply Affidavit to the Affirmation of Mark Bederow, DeVecchio’s attorney.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Suing all the wrong government agencies

Who they should be suing is SOCOM and LIWA:

Airlines and aviation-related companies sued the CIA and the FBI on Tuesday, asking a federal court to let them interview investigators who can tell whether the aviation industry was to blame for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or whether it had acted reasonably.

The separate lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Manhattan asked a judge to order the government to let the aviation companies gather the information as part of their defense against lawsuits brought by victims or families of victims of the 2001 attacks.

In the CIA lawsuit, companies including American Airlines Inc., United Airlines Inc., US Airways Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., Continental Airlines Inc. and The Boeing Co. asked to interview the deputy chief of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit in 2001 and an FBI special agent assigned to the unit at that time.

In the FBI lawsuit, the companies asked to interview a "limited number of former and current FBI employees" who had participated in investigations of al-Qaida and al-Qaida operatives before and after Sept. 11, 2001.